A Change in Mentality


With Labor Day Weekend just around the corner, many are looking forward to a much needed respite from their usual work week. This is especially true for many professionals managing communities and associations. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Community Association Managers have risen to the occasion to help navigate boards and residents through uncharted waters. However, heavy workloads and increased responsibility has begun to effect some managers’ mental health, with many reporting higher levels of stress, anxiety, or burnout.

Higher demands and expectations from residents have been a challenge, especially coupled with implemented community restrictions and amenities closed to reduce the spread of the virus. Michael Dee, CMCA, AMS, manager in Kansas City, Mo. shares his thoughts: “People come to [community managers], and their expectation is that we have all the answers, that we’re the strong ones. It was very difficult [in the beginning of the pandemic] because we were learning as we were going, so we had to be careful and calculated.”

Dee is a part of senior leadership for his communities, and he claims the responsibility of adjusting best practices to use during the pandemic has come with increased stress and pressures that are overwhelming to community managers. In Dee’s case, expressing his comments and concerns to his immediate supervisors was the catalyst to a company-wide shift to “embracing the power of vulnerability.” 

Mental health employee meeting

Creating space and time for groups to share their concerns reminds them that they’re not alone in their struggle.

Embracing Vulnerability

In the midst of the pandemic, some management companies organized virtual meetings every week to give employees a space to share their thoughts, feelings, or struggles so that they could provide information on resources to improve mental health.

Kara Cermark, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CAI faculty member and Senior Vice President of learning and development of a community in Palatine, Ill. shares her thoughts on why vulnerability can be helpful in one’s profession to feel heard and understood. “This particular job is incredibly stressful. It’s about recognizing that and knowing that you’re the kind of person who actually enjoys the challenge of making communities better.”

Tips & Tricks

For managers that are feeling overwhelmed, Cermak first recommends breaking down a task into smaller steps. Doing so makes it easier to complete and can generate the momentum you need to make other tasks seem less daunting and more manageable. On the flipside, managers also could benefit from recognizing when they need to stop and take care of themselves, so they can continue to help their communities while feeling their best.

Residential Appreciation

The recent changes in all community resident’s lives is a great opportunity to show your support. Whether it’s volunteering your business expertise to mentor someone, or simply sending a quick “Thank You” to your Board or Management team in appreciation for the hard work put forth to keep your community safe. This is a time for everyone to come together, and work together, to ensure the future of our communities stay bright for generations to come.

Community mental health awareness

Rallying around others is an easy way to improve mental wellness among the entire community.

For more general tips and tricks on mental health and making time for self-care, check out Tips for Taking Care of You During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

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